Summer break from school presents kids of all ages with many opportunities to play outdoors, hang with friends, kick back and relax. While children need time to play and deserve to relish in their break from school, it’s important for parents to remember the importance of also helping your children retain the knowledge and skills gained during the school year. As with all things in life, balance and moderation is key. By keeping your children’s brain active over the summer, he or she will have less difficulty getting back into the swing of things, and being an engaged learner and active student when school resumes in the fall.. Encouraging and challenging your children to remain academically focused over the summer, will allow them to return to school without having lost any ground.
Here 3 tips from Campaign for School Equity (CSE) on how to prevent student brain drain over the summer:
1. Reading is Fundamental.
Summer is the perfect time for children to set and smash reading goals! Encourage your child to read at least two or three books over the summer Studies show that consistent reading keeps children’s minds working during the summer months and beyond. More engagement means less re-teaching and re-learning come fall. The U.S. Department of Education found that, generally, students that practiced reading got higher testing scores. Research also shows that the more parent involvement a child has, the higher their scores will be. Places like Barnes & Noble, Scholastic and of course your local library have reading programs over the summer to help and make reading fun and interesting for children!
2. Traveling & Experiential Learning.
Summer can get dull really fast if you stay indoors without access to any creative outlets or new things to see, do, and explore. To make your child’s summer memorable and productive, engage them in experiential learning activities, like visiting museums, parks, art galleries, and other places that promote family-friendly fun. Many of these places will have programs and events especially designed for children that will help to promote social/emotional skills development and creative thinking, allowing for a more enriched summer break experience.
Some teachers request or require that students keep a journal over the summer and have them reflect on what they’ve written and experienced at the start of the school year. However, journal writing doesn’t have to be for a verbal or written school report., Encourage your children to practice and strengthen their writing skills by writing a funny short story to share just with family, or creative expressions like poetry or songwriting. These writing activities can help flex the muscles in the brain to get in the habit of writing for school assignments when the summer concludes.
These three tips have been shown to be the most effective to maintain academic productivity and progress for children over the summer. Try one or try them all and share your tips for keeping your children’s brain active outside of the traditional school year!
Mendell Grinter is the Founder & Executive Director of Campaign for School Equity - nonprofit organization committed to the equitable utilization of high quality educational options. Grinter is also a member of the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30.